Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions (DESS), part of US-based energy company Duke Energy, has started operations at its Pisgah Ridge Solar project in Navarro County, Texas.

Claimed to be the company’s largest solar power plant, the 250MW project employed nearly 300 members during its construction phase.

Engineering and construction tasks were managed by Moss, while DESS will own and operate the project.

DESS president Chris Fallon said: “We’re excited to continue to grow our Texas solar portfolio.

“This project demonstrates how we can continue to expand our renewable energy resources while providing unique sustainability solutions for commercial customers.”

The Pisgah Ridge Solar facility already has three virtual power purchase agreements (VPPA) in place with Charles River Laboratories International, Midwest retailer Meijer and one unnamed company.

Charles River Laboratories International has a 15-year VPPA for 102MW of the project, which will provide the company’s entire North American electric power load with clean, renewable energy by 2023.

At the same time, Meijer will procure 83MW of capacity generated by the solar facility under a 15-year VPPA agreement.

An undisclosed company has also signed a 15-year VPPA with the Pisgah Ridge Solar project.

The three VPPAs collectively account for more than 90% of the facility’s total output.

Meijer environmental compliance and sustainability director Erik Petrovskis said: “Lessening our impact on the environment through a continued commitment in reducing carbon emissions is an issue that is important to us and our customers.

“We’ve made significant progress over the years, but this project with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions puts us on the right path to making an even bigger impact.”

Charles River EHS and sustainability executive director Gregg Belardo said: “Charles River has committed to sourcing 100% of our global electricity needs through renewable sources by 2030.

“Our VPPA with DESS provides coverage for our North American facilities and moves us significantly closer to that global goal.”